J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adam Foutz and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard

John C. Fitzpatrick erred in writing, back in 1917, that Adam Foutz cooked for Gen. George Washington starting in July 1775, as I described yesterday. But Fitzgerald was correct to say that Foutz was:

  • one of the general’s cooks, and
  • “a member of the Commander-in-chief’s Guard.”
However, Fitzpatrick’s phrasing left the impression, as amplified by Washington biographer James Thomas Flexner and others, that Foutz stopped being a cook when he was transferred.

Instead, the record of his army service is clear that Foutz became a cook for the commander-in-chief’s guard. He is listed with the rank of private, and also designated as a “cook” and “baking for the army.”

Those documents describing Foutz have been published in the Pennsylvania Archives series under such titles as “A List of men of His Excellency’s Guards draughted from the Regt. of the State of Penn’a.” and muster rolls of the guard produced by its commander, Lt. William Colfax, assuring the unit where Foutz originally enlisted that he was cooking for the general.

That company traveled with Gen. Washington, looking after his headquarters papers and equipment. The guard’s job was to stay close to the commander-in-chief. Therefore, it made sense for its cooks also to serve Washington, especially when he was on campaign.

We also know that Foutz cooked for Washington through the end of the war. One of the last entries in the general’s expense book, dated 10 Nov 1783, is: “To the following hired Servts. at Breaking up Ho.Keeping at Rocky Hill - 6 Mo. Wages each.” Adam Foutz received “30 Drs.…£9,” and below that is another entry “To Adam Foutz…Cook…£5/10/—”

Foutz and three other men signed (or, in one case, marked) a receipt for the commander, now part of his papers at the Library of Congress, which reads:
Reced of His Excellency General Washington—Thirty dollars Each—in full for our extra service in his family
So we even have Adam Foutz’s signature confirming that he worked for Washington’s military household well after the Treaty of Paris. TOMORROW: So who was in the Cambridge kitchen?


Jan said...

Where might one find more information about the CinC's bodyguard? According to undocumented family lore, one of my ancestors (Johannes Spoor of Montgomery [previously Tryon] County, NY, aka John Spore) served in it, as well as in the 3rd NY.

J. L. Bell said...

It looks like people have been asking about Johannes/John Spoor and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard for over a century.

That company was not technically a bodyguard for Washington, but rather a guard for his headquarters, especially when the files and equipment were moved.

A book was published about the unit in 1904: The Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, Revolutionary War, by C. E. Godfrey. It contains a list of members, and there doesn’t appear to be a Spoor, Spore, or Spurr in the book. But I don’t know how comprehensive it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for researching this story. I had found the pay voucher and can confirm that Foutz is definitely German descent, so doubted he was the "French cook". I have delayed researching this family for 40 years and am just beginning on this line. I found it interesting as many men in my family are great cooks and I had an uncle who served as cook in the army during WWII so the tradition seems to have been establised early. I am looking forward to exploring your website as I have other Massachuttes families that predate 1776 and am hoping to stumble on a jewel or two.